• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Security Studies, Strategic Studies, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course introduces students to the theoretical frameworks, empirical cases, policy instruments, and cutting-edge debates in the field of international law from an International Relations perspective.  This is not a course in international law. Rather, the course goes beyond the conventional black letter approach and focuses on the political contexts, causes, and consequences of international law, thereby bridging international politics and international law. The course is structured in three parts. First, we will focus on the different theoretical perspectives in International Relations for understanding international law, such as realist, liberal, and constructivist approaches. Second, the course will examine the general principles of international law, including actors of international law, the creation and sources of international law, international law interpretation, the relationship between international and national law, and the problem of compliance. Third, we will examine the interrelationships between international politics and international law in several specialized areas of international law, such as human rights, the environment, international criminal justice, trade, and/or the use of force.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. understand different international relations theories of international law;
  2. apply international relations theories to case studies and issue areas of international law;
  3. understand how international law works in world politics; and
  4. think, write, and argue critically and logically about international law issues from a political science perspective.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Forum participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Research proposal (900 words) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Research essay (2500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Final examination (either 2-hour in-class exam or 7-day take-home exam in formal examination period, subject to the ANU's exam invigilation service and campus alert level) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One 2 hour lecture and one 1 hour forum per week for 12 weeks. Students are expected to commit further 94 hours of independent study (research, reading, and writing) during the semester (total 130 hours).

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed POLS1006 and either POLS2113 or POLS2133.

Prescribed Texts

Sean D. Murphy, Principles of International Law, Third Edition (St. Paul: West Academic Publishing, 2018).

Assumed Knowledge

Familiarity with basic concepts and theories in International Relations.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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